1969 Hot Wheels Talking Service Center

A filling station is a facility which sells fuel and lubricants for motor vehicles.

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The most common fuels sold today are gasoline (“gasoline” or “gas” in the U.S. and Canada, generally “petrol” elsewhere), diesel fuel, and electric energy. A filling station that sells only electric energy is also known as a charging station.

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A Tesla charging station.

Originally, filling stations were of the full-service variety. A service attendant would meet you at the pumps and take care of your automotive needs. He would fill your tank, check the oil, measure air pressure in your tires, clean the windshield, etc.

Chevron postcard from the 1950s. Courtesy eBay.

Chevron postcard from the 1950s. Courtesy eBay.

In the 1970s, two periods of gasoline shortages (1973 and 1979) caused higher fuel prices which in turn resulted in permanent closure of many full-service gas stations as consumers looked for price relief that came in the form of self-serve operations.

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A pair of Mopar’s getting self serve.

In the U.S., a filling station that also offers services such as oil changes and mechanical repairs to automobiles is called a service station.

A classic service station on historic Route 66.

A classic service station on historic Route 66.

Until the 1970s the vast majority of gas stations were service stations.  Today, service centers are tied more to car dealerships than to gas pumps.

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Entrance to a modern Service Center.

Work bays inside a service center.

Work bays inside a modern service center.

The Talking Service Center is a Hot Wheels play set that goes back to 1969.  With this set kids are encouraged to “Drive ’em, Service ’em and Park ’em”.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - top. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – top. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - bottom. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – bottom. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

The sides…

Front - courtesy eBay.

Front – courtesy eBay.

Close-up front. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up front. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up back. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up back. Courtesy eBay.

…unfold to reveal a drive through gas pump area on one side and drive-up ramps for the 3 levels on the other side.

Gas pumps on the back side. Courtesy eBay.

The gas pumps side. Courtesy eBay.

The front side folded up. Courtesy eBay.

Step 1: The track side folded up. Courtesy eBay.

The front side unfolding. Courtesy eBay.

Step 2: The track side unfolding. Courtesy eBay.

Step 3: The front side unfolded. Courtesy eBay.

Step 3: The track side unfolded. Courtesy eBay.

The second level has 3 moulded lube racks for oil changes and servicing.  There is roof top parking on the third level.  And orange Hot Strip track can be attached to the third level.  That means cars can be launched from the roof and head out for the open road.

1969 Collectors' Catalogue image. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1969 Collectors’ Catalogue image. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

The unique feature of this play set is the talking function. Pulling the string cord on the side produces 10 different sound tracks.

1.  Now there’s a hot set of wheels.
2.  Wow! Your car’s a beauty.
3.  Out of gas?
4.  Check under the hood, sir?
5.  Lube and tune-ups on the second level, sir.
6.  Regular or super, sir?
7.  Fill ‘er up, sir?
8.  Sir, park on the third level, please.
9.  So, how fast does she go? vroom. vroom.
10. Vroom. vroom. She’s ready to race now.

Here’s a video showing the 1969 Hot Wheels Talking Service Center TV commercial. Courtesy Mark Roach.

So there you have it. The 1969 Hot Wheels Talking Service Center.  Where Hot Wheels stop, service and go.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Alternate 1969 Collectors' Catalogue image. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Alternate 1969 Collectors’ Catalogue page. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Side view. Courtesy eBay.

Side view. Courtesy eBay.

Side view close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Side view close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up of the other side. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up of the other side. Courtesy eBay.

1968 Hot Wheels Hot Strip Track Set

Minimalism: Living in the simplest manner.

When it comes to minimalism with Hot Wheels track you can’t get simpler than the 1968 Hot Strip Track Pak.

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It comes with just 10 feet of orange track and 5 joiners.

Box art - front.

Box art – front.

But Mattel says you can still go racing with this Pak.

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Box art – side.

I’ve got a universal clamp and with 2 Hot Strip Track Paks I’ll make a drag set.

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For a start gate, I’ll go basic by using a pencil.

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And for a finish line, I’ve got checkered flag stickers to put on the end.

IMG_1707Time to go racing. Today I’m using 4 redline cars from 1968.

l to r: white Ford J-Car, blue Custom Corvette, red Beatnik Bandit and a gold Custom Camaro.

l to r: white Ford J-Car, blue Custom Corvette, red Beatnik Bandit and a gold Custom Camaro.

Here’s a drag race down the track.

Ready at the start.

Ready at the start.

Accelerating hard!

Accelerating hard!

Neck and neck down the stretch.

Neck and neck down the stretch.

It's the Beatnik Bandit at the line!

It’s the Beatnik Bandit at the line!

To see what happens when these 4 cars race, check out my YouTube video:

So there you have it. The 1968 Hot Wheels Hot Strip Track Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Here are some extra images of the Hot Strip Track Pak.

Box art - side.

Box art – side.

Box art - side.

Box art – side.

Box art - French (Canadian).

Box art – French (Canadian).

Box art - end. French (Canadian).

Box art – end. French (Canadian).

Box art.

Box art.

1968 Hot Wheels Classic Trials

The longest running motor sport event in the world is probably the Trials held in the United Kingdom.

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They first began in 1901. There are three “classic trials” in the UK including: the Edinburgh Trial, the Exeter Trial and the Lands End Trial.

Unlike most motor sport, trials are about how far you can go rather than how fast you get there. In the early years of the automobile, trials were basically endurance and reliability tests for two wheel drive vehicles. Four wheel drive machines are not included.

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The typical trial sets out a road course to complete (as much as 450 miles long) and has several “sections” where man and machine are put to the test. A standard challenge is hill climbing. One of the toughest hills to conquer is Simms Hill on the Exeter Trial.

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The objective of a hill climb is to reach the top, of course. But the catch is, you have to do it without a single stop or back slide.

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Today I’m running my own trial on 5 different layouts; each made with 1968 Hot Wheels track components. The car that travels the furthest distance on a given course gets 1 point. The second place car gets 2 points. The third gets 3 points. And the last car gathers 4 points. The car with the lowest score after 5 tracks is the winner.

Here are my 4 cars for the trial.

l to r: green '67 Pontiac Firebird 400, red '65 Mustang 2+2 Fastback, yellow '67 Chenille SS 396 and a black '71 Plymouth Road Runner.

l to r: green ’67 Pontiac Firebird 400, red ’65 Mustang 2+2 Fastback, yellow ’67 Chevelle SS 396 and a black ’71 Plymouth Road Runner.

Here are the 5 tracks.

Track 1

Track 1

Track 2

Track 2

Track 3

Track 3

Track 4

Track 4

Track 5

Track 5

To see how the cars do on this trial, check out my video on YouTube.

So there you have it. A classic trial with 1968 Hot Wheels track pieces.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

1968 Hot Wheels Dual Action Stunt Set

Back in 1968 Mattel released the single lane Stunt Action Set to give us a taste of loops and jumps.

1968 Collectors' Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1968 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

The following year, 1969, Mattel showed a TV commercial which included a dual lane drag set complete with dual loops and dual jumps.  But it wasn’t until 1976 that Mattel actually produced this set. It is called the Dual Action Stunt Set.

Box and track for the Dual Action Stunt Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box and track for the Dual Action Stunt Set. Courtesy eBay.

Here’s what this track looks like with 1968 components.

This set includes 28 feet of orange track, 2 loops, 2 jumps, 1 start gate, 1 finish gate, 1 universal clamp and 6 joiners.

This set includes 28 feet of orange track, 2 loops, 2 jumps, 1 start gate, 1 finish gate, 1 universal clamp and 6 joiners.

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Assembled.

Time for a run from start to finish.

Ready at the start.

Ready at the start.

Charging down the track.

Charging down the track.

Into the loops.

Into the loops.

Here come the jumps.

Here come the jumps.

Stretching to the finish!

Stretching to the finish!

And this race is done.

And this race is done.

These are the 4 cars that I will be using on this track.

l to r: blue Flat Out 442, green '72 Ford Gran Torino Sport, violet "84 Mustang SVO and a gold Chevy Camaro Concept.

l to r: blue Flat Out 442, green ’72 Ford Gran Torino Sport, violet ’84 Mustang SVO and a gold Chevy Camaro Concept.

To see who wins this event, check out my YouTube video.

So there you have it. A custom track, the 1968 Hot Wheels Dual Action Stunt Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Box art side and back for Dual Action Stunt Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box art side and back for 1976 Dual Action Stunt Set. Courtesy eBay.

1969 Hot Wheels Trestle Drag Set

The hills of San Francisco…

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…have been the back drop for one of the most famous car chases in movie history. Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen, featured a 1968 Ford Mustang GT in pursuit of a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T.

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The film editing of this muscle car chase played a major role with Bullitt winning the Academy Award for Editing in April 1969.

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Minimal Movie Poster #214. Courtesy of Chungkong Art.

Today, I’m creating my own chase track using the 1969 Hot Wheels Trestle Pak.

Box art - front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

By adding 36 feet of orange track, 16 joiners, 6 trestles, 1 universal clamp, a start gate and a finish gate…

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…I can make this drag set layout.

The start.

The start.

The first 2 sets of trestles.

The first 2 sets of trestles.

The 3rd set of trestles followed by the finish gate.

The 3rd set of trestles followed by the finish gate.

Sticking with Mustangs and Chargers, here is my 4 car set for racing.

l to r: red 1971 Dodge Charger, gold 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1, blue 1969 Dodge Charger and green 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Coupe.

l to r: red 1971 Dodge Charger, gold 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1, blue 1969 Dodge Charger and green 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Coupe.

This is my YouTube video of Mustangs going up against Chargers.

So there you have it. A custom track. The 1969 Hot Wheels Trestle Drag Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Box art - back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art - back. Close-up.

Box art – back. Close-up.

Box art - back. Close-up.

Box art – back. Close-up.

Box art - back. Close-up.

Box art – back. Close-up.

Box art - back. Close-up.

Box art – back. Close-up.

Box art - front. Close-up of stylized Corvette.

Box art – front. Close-up of stylized Corvette.

Box art - front. Close-up of Silhouette.

Box art – front. Close-up of Silhouette.

Box art - end. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – end. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art - top. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – top. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art - side. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – side. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Trestle Pak from the U.K. Courtesy eBay.

Trestle Pak from the U.K. Courtesy eBay.

1968 Hot Wheels Long Distance Set

“Pack the kids into the car and hit the road”.

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For many of us, summer vacation road trips were a big part of growing up. And one of the classic Big Road Trips is Route 66.

First established in 1926, the “Mother Road” ran from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. That’s a distance of 2,448 miles (3,940 kms).

Historic Route 66.

Historic Route 66 map.

Although the original road has been largely supplanted by interstate highways, there is still a lot to see on what’s left of Route 66.

Museums like this one in Clinton, Oklahoma.

Museums like this one in Clinton, Oklahoma.

Restaurants like the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas. If you can eat their 72 oz. steak in one hour...it's free.

Restaurants like the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas. If you can eat their 72 oz. steak in one hour…it’s free.

Road side attractions like the Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas.

Road side attractions like the Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas.

Hotel and motels of every description.

Hotel and motels of every description.

And lots of great cafes.

And lots of great cafes.

Today I’m making a custom track; the 1968 Hot Wheels Long Distance Set.

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This layout uses 46 feet or orange track,  20 joiners, 2 full curves, 2 red trestles and 1 universal clamp. Including the track and the curves, this set is nearly 50 feet long.

Here are the 8 cars that I have selected to go the distance.

l to r: a red Ford GTX1, a black '10 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake, a yellow C6 Corvette, an orange 2005 Ford Mustang GT, a white Dodge Charger Drift, a green 24 Ours, a plum '69 Corvette, and a blue '73 Firebird Trans Am.

l to r: a red Ford GTX1, a black ’10 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake, a yellow C6 Corvette, an orange 2005 Ford Mustang GT, a white Dodge Charger Drift, a green 24 Ours, a plum ’69 Corvette, and a blue ’73 Firebird Trans Am.

See which of these cars travelled the furthest on my YouTube video:

So there you have it. A custom track. The 1968 Hot Wheels Long Distance Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Front page image of a Hot Wheels coloring book. Now that's a road going station wagon! Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Front page image from a Hot Wheels coloring book. Now that’s a road going station wagon! Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Another coloring book front page with a Rodger Dodger on the road. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Another coloring book front page with Rodger Dodger on the road. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1968 Hot Wheels Split Curve Drag Set

The arrival of Hot Wheels in late 1967 meant that we now had cars that could “GO”.  And putting all that “GO” to work meant the cars needed some place to run.  Thankfully, Mattel gave us track at the same time.  It came in sets and it was also offered as “Add-On Accessories”.

The "Add-On Accessories" page of the 1968 Hot Wheels Collectors' Catalogue.

The “Add-On Accessories” page of the 1968 Collectors’ Catalogue.

With this page…

Add-On Accessories from the 1968 Collectors' Catalogue.

Add-On Accessories from the 1968 Collectors’ Catalogue.

…I’m going to build a custom track.

The 1968 Hot Wheels Split Curve Drag Set.

Starting Gate.

Starting Gate.

The Split part.

The Split part.

And the Finish Gate.

And the Finish Gate.

Here’s what a race down this track looks like.

A yellow Corvette C6 and a green Corvette ZR1 at the start.

A yellow Corvette C6 and a green Corvette ZR1 at the start.

Full charge out of the gate.

Full charge out of the gate.

Blasting into the first set of half curves.

Blasting into the first set of half curves.

Way out there. Coming off the full curve.

Way out there. Coming off the full curve.

Racing back together on the second set of half curves.

Racing back together on the second set of half curves.

Who's ahead?

Who’s ahead?

Across the finish line. This race is done.

Across the finish line. This race is done.

For my YouTube video of this track, I’m going to run 4 late model Corvettes.

l to r: red 2009 Corvette Stingray Concept, green 2009 Corvette ZR1, blue 2011 Corvette Grand Sport and a yellow Corvette C6.

l to r: red 2009 Corvette Stingray Concept, green 2009 Corvette ZR1, blue 2011 Corvette Grand Sport and a yellow Corvette C6.

See which ‘Vette comes out on top in my YouTube video.

So there you have it. A custom track. The 1968 Hot Wheels Split Curve Drag Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.